- Mike Riedel
If you haven't figured it out by now, I really love craft beer—and Utah's special brand of craft suds in particular is especially endearing to me. That's why I've dedicated a portion of the past 15 years to engaging with other Utahans about the beers from our state.
To celebrate a decade and a half of writing at the Utah Beer Blog and City Weekly, four local breweries and myself have formulated and brewed a quartet of different beers designed around drinkability and the unique qualities that make Utah's beers so special.
2 Row- Mikey's Citra IPL: This pours a brilliantly clear golden honey color. Big, sweet orange and grapefruit start off the nose, but also a prominent earthy dankness with hints of pine.
It tastes of bittersweet citrus upfront, like biting into a citrus fruit; you get the peel, pith and flesh of orange, red grapefruit and even lemon. The dankness and pine provide a welcome balance. The biscuit malt backbone is medium-light, and leans somewhat sweet, but the citrus and pine hoppiness keep it in check. There are also subtle mango and pineapple notes dancing throughout. Near the end, the malt character tastes somewhat toasty, and it finishes slightly sweet but also a bit dry with a bit of dank tangerine peel.
Overall: Though this was originally designed for summer, we found that drinkability knows no season.
Templin Family Brewing - Alt Riedel: Altbiers are one of my favorite German beer styles. The aroma is of darkly toasted brown bread, toasted walnuts and hazelnuts, slight black tea, very faint herbal European hops and malty sweetness.
Front of palate picks up toasted dark bread and nuts, plus cocoa and even a bit of coffee. Mid-palate features spicy European hops and tannins similar to black tea. Spicy European hops alongside decreased toasted bread, nut and cocoa round out the backend, with a lingering aftertaste of toasted bread and nuts.
Overall: This 5.0 percent German ale has a nice dry finish, perfect for our current weather.
Epic Brewing - Utah Beer Blog 15th Anniversary Vanilla Porter: The nose is a tad faint after the initial foam has shrunk away, but there's a good bit of sweetness, some vanilla and a bit of roastiness hanging out in the background.
The taste is also roasty on the first sip, blending in a bit of raisin from the aroma with a dark bready malt flavor, and ... yeah, this is definitely a vanilla beer. It's not overpowering, more like a small dollop cream and vanilla. On later sips, the raisin-y thing fades away a bit, and it's more roasty/malty before heading straight into nice, smooth, sweetish vanilla. The finish is slightly bitter, which helps balance the vanilla bean.
Overall: This 5.5 percent beer feels like wintry beer, but it has the quickness of a more agile early autumn porter.
Fisher Brewing - Rye-on Mikey: Starts off with an earthy and spicy hop-driven aroma, plus pine and citrus. A big hit of rye spice also emerges, along with hints of caramel and toast.
It tastes like it smells, an earthy and spicy hop-forward taste with notes of rye, caramel and grass. You get a strong hop presence with grapefruit peel, earthy and floral notes of pine resin and grass, followed by barley malt with a lot of rye spice and notes of caramel, biscuit, toast and grains. A very bold taste at 5 percent ABV.
Overall: Constructed for those who want an outdoorsy ale full of flavor.
Big thanks to everyone at the aforementioned breweries. A portion of the sales from all of these beers will be going to the Utah Food Bank. The enthusiasm and dedication to making these charitable beers a reality is partly why I love this gig so much. You can find all of these beers now at their respective breweries. As always, cheers!